Professor Justin Cooper-White

Senior Group Leader & Professor

Australian Institute for Bioengineering and Nanotechnology
+61 7 334 63858


Professor Justin Cooper-White is a global leader in using engineering to solve problems in biology. In addition to holding the position of AIBN Group Leader, Professor Cooper-White is Director of the Australian National Fabrication Facility-Queensland Node and the Associate Dean (Research) Faculty of Engineering, Architecture and Information Technology at UQ. He is a past President of both the Australasian Society for Biomaterials and Tissue Engineering and the Australian Society of Rheology. Professor Cooper-White has been appointed a CSIRO Office of the Chief Executive (OCE) Science Leader.

Professor Cooper-White has many past and currently active international collaborations with world leading research groups at MIT (US); Stanford (USA); ETH (Switzerland); EPFL (Switzerland); SNU (Korea); University Of Grenoble (France); Politecnico di Milano (Italy); UCL (UK); and the Max Planck Institute (Germany). He has performed contract research and consultancy work for Unilever in the UK; Nestle International, Switzerland; Rhodia, US; and Inion, Finland since 2001. He has previously held a Visiting Professor Fellowship (2007) at ETH Zurich and currently holds a Politecnico di Milano Visiting Professor Fellowship for 2012-2013. He is the associate editor of the Korean-Australian Rheology Journal; serves or has served on the editorial boards of Rheological Acta, Soft Materials, Biomicrofluidics and the Open Biomedical Engineering Journal; and is a reviewer of major international journals, including Nature Methods, Advanced Materials, Lab on a Chip, Stem Cells, Stem Cells and Development, Biomacromolecules, Tissue Engineering, Langmuir, Biomaterials and Journal of Non-Newtonian Fluid Mechanics.

Professor Cooper-White has been chair or co-chair of three international conferences, focusing on either rheology or biomaterials and tissue engineering: the Australian representative on the International Advisory Committee, 15th International Congress on Rheology, Monterey, US; a member of the International Scientific Advisory Committee for the World Congress on Biomaterials, Amsterdam, Netherlands; and currently an Australian representative on the Interntional Union of Societies for Biomaterials Science and Engineering (IUSBE). He is the inventor on six international patents. He has performed contract and sponsored research work for multinationals such as Mesoblast, Rhodia, Unilever and Nestle International and has received more than $45 million in competitive grant funding.

Recognition of Professor Cooper-White’s standing in the research field is reflected in the nine plenary and more than 25 keynote presentations he has been invited to give at national and international conferences since 2001. He received the 2005 Annual Award of the British Society of Rheology for contributions to the fields of rheology and non-Newtonian fluid mechanics. His work on engineered surfaces, specifically for directing mesenchymal stem cell fate was highlighted as one the most influential works on stem cell – biomaterial interactions at the 2008 World Biomaterials Congress in Amsterdam, the Netherlands.

Research Impacts


Smart surfaces, scaffolds and diagnostic microdevices for stem cell expansion, tissue engineering and early disease detection.

Professor Justin Cooper-White leads a research group with a focus on tissue engineering and microfluidics. One of the research group's projects involves developing bioengineered systems and device platforms that allow them to dissect the microenvironment in which stem cells ‘live’ during early tissue development. Variations in the microenvironment lead to the generation of different tissues.Using Australian Research Council (ARC) Discovery Project funding, Professor Justin Cooper-White’s research group has determined the importance of spacing of adhesion peptides presented to mesenchymal stem cells (MSC) in influencing morphology, migration and differentiation. MSCs presented with closely-spaced peptides are predisposed to form bone, while those on widely-spaced peptides are more likely to differentiate into fat cells. The research is showing, for the first time, that nanoscale spacing of adhesion peptides influences stem cell differentiation and adds to the understanding of how MSCs interact with their surroundings.

Professor Cooper-White’s research group has developed a microbioreactor array technology platform that permits cells to be cultured under hundreds to thousands of different conditions, to work out the best conditions for growing them or differentiating them into target cell lineages - all in a device the size of a credit card. The technology has been patented and the Cooper-White research group is seeking to develop it in new applications with collaborators, with the aim of proving the value of data the technology can provide with industrial partners. Ultimately, the technology will accelerate research in stem cell development and regenerative medicine, drug screening, and bioprocess engineering, so the researchers want to take it to the world.


  • PhD, The University of Queensland
  • Bachelor of Engineering, The University of Queensland


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View all Supervision



  • Functional hydrogels as biomaterials. Edited by Jun Li, Yoshihito Osada and Justin Cooper-White Berlin, Heidelberg: Springer Berlin Heidelberg, 2018. doi:10.1007/978-3-662-57511-6

Book Chapter

  • Li, Jun, Osada, Yoshihito and Cooper-White, Justin (2018). Functional Hydrogels as Biomaterials Preface. In Li, J., Osada, Y. and CooperWhite, J. (Ed.), Functional Hydrogels as Biomaterials (pp. V-VI) Berlin, Germany: Springer.

  • Pradal, Clementine and Cooper-White, Justin (2018). Hydrogels for directed stem cell differentiation and tissue repair. In Functional Hydrogels as Biomaterials (pp. 73-93) Berlin, Heidelberg: Springer Berlin Heidelberg. doi:10.1007/978-3-662-57511-6_3

  • Pujic, Zac, Nguyen, Huyen, Glass, Nick, Cooper-White, Justin and Goodhill, Geoffrey J. (2016). Axon guidance studies using a microfluidics-based chemotropic gradient generator. In 2nd (Ed.), Chemotaxis: methods and protocols (pp. 273-285) New York, NY United States: Springer New York. doi:10.1007/978-1-4939-3480-5_20

  • Wales, Stewart, Tan, Guak-Kim and Cooper-White, Justin.J. (2015). Controlling stem cell adhesion, proliferation, and differentiation with layer-by-layer films. In Catherine Picart, Frank Caruso and Jean-Claude Voegel (Ed.), Layer-by-layer films for biomedical applications (pp. 103-130) Weinheim, Germany: Wiley. doi:10.1002/9783527675869.ch6

  • Chau, L. T., Frith, J. E., Mills, R. J., Menzies, D. J., Titmarsh, D. M. and Cooper-White, J. J. (2013). Microfluidic devices for developing tissue scaffolds. In Xiujun (James) Li and Yu Zhou (Ed.), Microfluidic devices for biomedical applications (pp. 363-387) Cambridge, United Kingdom: Woodhead Publishing. doi:10.1533/9780857097040.3.363

  • Chau, L. T., Frith, J. E., Mills, R. J., Menzies, D. J., Titmarsh, D. M. and Cooper-White, J. J. (2013). Microfluidic platforms for informed tissue scaffold development.. In Xiujun (James) Li and Yu Zhou (Ed.), Microfluidic Devices for Biomedical Applications (pp. 363-387) Sawston, Cambridge, UK: Woodhead Publishing. doi:10.1533/9780857097040

  • Frith, Jessica E., Jaramillo-Ferrada, Pamela, Mills, Richard J., Cameron, Andrew R., Titmarsh, Drew M., Wolvetang, Ernst J. and Cooper-White, Justin J. (2012). Development of defined culture conditions for expansion of human mesenchymal stromal cells for clinical applications. In M. A. Hayat (Ed.), Stem cells and cancer stem cells: therapeutic applications in disease and injury (pp. 13-26) Dordrecht, Netherlands: Springer Netherlands. doi:10.1007/978-94-007-4798-2_2

  • Lee, K.Y., Cooper-White, J.J., Keen, I. and Grondahl, L. (2008). Surface modification using RF oxygen plasma in tissue engineering. In Barnes, S.J. and Harris, L.P. (Ed.), Tissue Engineering: Roles, Materials and Applications 1st ed. (pp. 259-274) New York: Nova Science Publishers Inc.

  • Cao, Yang, Croll, Tristan I., Cooper-White, Justin J., O'Connor, Andrea J. and Stevens, Geoffrey W. (2004). Production and surface modification of polylactide-based polymeric scaffolds for soft tissue engineerings. In Anthony P. Hollander and Paul V. Hatton (Ed.), Biopolymer methods in tissue engineering (pp. 87-112) Totowa, N. J.: Humana Press. doi:10.1385/1-59259-428-X:87

Journal Article

Conference Publication

Grants (Administered at UQ)

PhD and MPhil Supervision

Current Supervision

  • Doctor Philosophy — Principal Advisor

    Other advisors:

  • Doctor Philosophy — Principal Advisor

  • Doctor Philosophy — Principal Advisor

    Other advisors:

  • Doctor Philosophy — Principal Advisor

  • Doctor Philosophy — Principal Advisor

  • Doctor Philosophy — Associate Advisor

Completed Supervision